Anytime we give in to fear and say ‘no’ to a step of faith, there’s a price to pay; fear always costs us something. In fact, we end up regretting our choice later. Truly, regret is a close relative of fear, and together they have crippled God’s people for centuries.
Fortunately, not Joseph and Mary. They said ‘no’ to fear and were there when God came to “live among us” (John 1).
And not Gideon. He was there when God won a battle with 300 fighting men (Judges 7).
And not Elisha. He was there when God caused iron to swim (2 Kings 6).
And not Peter. He was there when God created a coin in a fish’s mouth (Matthew 17).
And why were they there? Because they faced the fear of looking foolish and decided, “It’s not worth the price. I’m living fear free.”
Our own J.P. Richardson elected not to be crippled any longer a few weeks back as well. Some of you will recall that service when JP responded to God by laying prostrate here at the front during one of our response times. We were completing a time of intense focus upon the persecuted church, and he physically showed God his submissiveness through his posture; his willingness to, in a small way, identify with his brothers and sisters in those persecuted areas around the globe who don’t share the church comfort he enjoys. I knelt down beside him that service and just asked if there was anything I could do or should know about. He said “No, pastor, but thanks for asking. I just knew the Spirit was calling me to take this posture during an appropriate time in the service as a way to visibly show my spiritual camaraderie with the persecuted church. But I must be honest – I hesitated. You know, the ole’ ‘what-will-others-think?’ fear overwhelmed me. I finally just said, ‘Sure, God, I’m going.’ Well, I’m here, and I’m not sure what others think, but I know what God thinks.”
As a result, a God-thing happened all over the auditorium that day at our 10:30 service as people prayed, worshipped, and interceded for one another well past the “normal time.” In fact, I don’t know if we ever officially closed that service; I think we just sort of went our way one by one. It was a time like few I have experienced. I often wonder what would have been the result had JP given in to the fear of looking foolish and stayed in his seat. My gut answer is we would have missed out on a God-thing.